Contributions to bills with rising prices

Hi everyone,

We’ve been contacted by the owners of a future sit (after agreeing on the sit) asking for a small contribution towards charges, since energy prices have risen so much lately.
We politely refused to do so (sit is for a few weeks only in a warm country), but were wondering if this is something anybody else enountered or is this something we should expect more in the future with rising prices?

As a home owner, I think that’s a bit of a cheek but I can understand (a) if it’s a long sit or (b) the sitter wants to use something significantly more than the home owner would. (I’m in the UK; Im fairly liberal with my gas central heating on cold days but I dont have it on 24/7.)

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I would have no qualms paying towards the energy bills on a long sit. If I was contributing at least I could run the heating if I was cold or turn the air conditioning if I was too hot without worrying about the cost to the house holder. It would give me peace of mind.

@ElsieDownie Totally agree for a longer sit, but for 3 weeks, in a warm country & after agreeing to sit?

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I might if they had a/c and I like it cool. Otherwise, I think probably not.

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That does sound a little excessive especially since everything was agreed.

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Hi @Els I think that increased costs go both ways these days. No doubt sitters are or will incur increased travel costs as fuel prices escalate. My opinion is that whatever was agreed upon at the time of confirming a sit concerning any costs (or no costs) should remain unchanged. That’s my personal opinion.

I am thrifty and mindful of the cost of all utilities and it’s likely homeowners have lower bills when I’m at their home. However, one of my routine questions is to ask if any of their utility costs are all-inclusive (some rentals or condos), or if their electric/gas/water bills have certain time-of-day rates that are lower. I then keep that in mind so that I keep their bills as low as possible.

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Well said @Snowbird We just paid $200 in fuel cost to get to a sit. Gas prices were a lot cheaper when the sit was agreed on, but we don’t feel right to bring that up with the HO.

We are also always conscious of the HO’s utility costs and we are never wasteful.

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So true. My flight costs went up a bit (and forecast to go up a lot later this year) but my car rental is more than double.

I often find homes in the UK are cold but I’m cognizant of the cost of electric heat and try not to turn it up. Instead, I dress in layers. But honestly, sometimes I’d just like to say, "hey, I’m going to turn up the heat a bit. Please let me know how much extra your bill was this month and I’d be happy to pay the difference! :joy: "

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I would agree to it if it was for air conditioning, even after the fact if the HO came back to me and said I’d really run up their bill. I’d feel horribly guilty!

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I think the homeowners should have noted that in their listing to begin with. That’s usually the case - I’ve seen a few listings asking for contributions to utilities, etc. Then those sitters not interested in contributing wouldn’t apply in the first place.

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@Globetrotter Exactly my thoughts!

I agree, it’s kind of like changing the goal posts. If you accept the sit with a certain understanding of the terms, and then they changed the terms, it would seem reasonable to push back, or rescind your availability based on this new information.

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This wouldn’t sit well with me. First I would ask what temperature they typically set the thermostat to in April. If that is acceptable to you, you could tell them you would be fine with keeping it at that temperature and would not change the setting. I would then ask her why she did not mention this in her listing or during your first contact, that it was your understanding that this was an exchange of house and pet care for accommodations with no additional conditions.

Yes, the the price of everything has gone up. Just as their utilities have gone up, so have your travel expenses: gasoline/petrol; air fare; rental cars, food, both in the store and in restaurants; and incidentals. Based on her reaction and your feelings at that point, if she seems displeased you could tell her she has the option to cancel the sit and look for someone else who is amenable to paying for utilities. Or if she chooses, she can put her pets in a kennel and she won’t incur any extra utility expenses.

If you do decide to go ahead with the sit, make sure this interaction ends on a positive note as you want to be comfortable while you are there, and not on edge, and will want a good review from her.

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I think this is against the ethos of TH. I would be a little reluctant to sit if someone asked this. If they had to pay a sitter it would be significantly more than a rise in electricity prices.

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Our world is certainly ever changing at the moment, and who would have thought 2 years ago we’d be needing to ask some of the questions that now arise. There’s some really good feedback here on this topic of rising fuel costs, and as many say it’s something that will affect us all at different stages of the house sit process, both owners and sitters. We would like to think as sitters it’s fairly balanced and so we’d be unlikely to consider contributing extra on short sits.

One thing I thought this morning is that even boarding kennels are likely to start raising their prices as the cost of fuel soars in price because it affects all aspects of the supply chain, not just heating costs. I think generally the cost of travel will increase and if that’s part of our lifestyle plan, owner or sitter, we’ll need to factor that in without trying to pass those costs on.

(These are my personal thoughts on this topic :slight_smile: )

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Not fair to change the terms after acceptance. Don’t they have to heat/cool the house for the pets comfort as well? We are all experiencing inflationary cost increases for fuel, food - just about everything. If they had to board their animals for 3 weeks, this would likely cost more than the use of utilities for their home.

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Thanks everyone! The owners were adament about it, so they decided to look for other sitters. Probably best this way for both parties, since it would’ve been pretty awkward in the end.

Onwards and upwards! :grinning:

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Hi
Wow I think you had a lucky escape there! I certainly think any costs should be discussed up front and not after confirmation. There are so many sits out there I think they may struggle to find new sitters and regret their decision.

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Curious to know if they’ve since added that information to their sit write up.